October 16, 2022

The Stories of “yes” from “no”

Pastor KJ Kim

Exodus 17: 1-7; Psalm 95

In today’s passage, God hears the cries of Israel, and sees the needs of Israel. Then, God answers decisively. God gives water. God gives the water of life. Yes even in the wilderness; yes even from Rock, yes even from scarcity, yes to thirst, yes even from suffering.

This story may be all about what our faith journey may look like. Isn’t it true that we often ask the God question about the water problem? Isn’t it true that we often pray to God to show us some real stuff--something that makes our lives possible, and even better and more convenient? And it might be true that we do not want a God who would not deliver on that real stuff.

Maybe, the Israelites might think of God in the same way that my kiddos believe in me—"My dad may be an ATM machine; Dad, if you are really and truly my dad, give me money.” Well, for the Israelites, God was much more than an ATM machine—the one who saved them from slavery in Egypt; the one who made a path in the midst of the Red Sea; the one who fed them every day with manna and quails. God always said “yes” even in impossible situations; however, the Israelites failed to trust God fully over and over again.

Today’s other passage, Psalm 95, actually tells us about the moment when God says “no” that we mostly want to avoid listening to verses 8-11. We are reminded here that God does not like to be tested. God does not like people who have twisted hearts even though they had already seen God’s works. And God does not like people who do not know God’s ways. As the Psalm 95 says, Moses failed to enter the promised land.

Maybe, we all are still in our journey toward the promised land. We may keep testing God and asking God to make water from rock. And we may have twisted and closed hearts even though we have already seen and experienced God’s works in our lives.

How are we doing today in the business of seeking water? Have we noticed that we stay thirsty and still want water which can quench our thirst? Have we noticed that we are not made happy or safe or satisfied by a world of resources such as bigger cars and houses, larger portfolios. and 401K plans?

It is only God—and so Jesus--who gives water in a barren land. It is only God—and so Jesus--who can turn our wilderness into livable land. It is only God—and so Jesus—who can turn the hard rock of a failed life into a new life of a spring water.

We may have been facing hard rocks that make us stumble and stagger. However, we are reminded over and over again that hard rocks are the place where God brings water. What we need is to thirst for that water so that we may never again be thirsty.

Thanks be to God.